10 Ways to Spot and Stop Marijuana Use
Marijuana is, far and away, the most widely used illegal drug in the world. A 2010 report from the United Nations found that the number of people using cannabis ranges between 119 and 224 million. The 2013 edition of the Monitoring the Future survey, published by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), reported that more than one third of American high school seniors admit to having used marijuana in the past year. The MTF survey also found that the rates of marijuana use are on the increase at the same time as fewer and fewer high school students report that they think the drug is dangerous. In the face of trends such as these, it is important for parents to know the signs of marijuana use so that they can spot the problem early and handle it before it gets out of control. Here are some tips that can help you to identify marijuana use and to put an end to the problem:
- Weed stinks. The NIDS webpage about marijuana describes marijuana as having a “pungent and distinctive, usually sweet-and-sour, odor.” It is called skunk for a reason. Someone who is using, or has recently used, marijuana will normally bear a smell that can be compared to a skunk’s odor or to a garlic smell.
- A person who has recently smoked pot will often have bloodshot eyes, a consequence of cannabis’ effect in increasing the dilation of the blood vessels in the eyes.
- Cannabis tends to make a person act “spacey,” easily distracted or unfocused. This is part of the reason why a person smokes pot, to cut loose and get rid of the concerns of daily life, but it can also make the person a very real liability to have around.
- When a person smokes pot, he or she will often become giddy or silly. If the person seems to be acting this way with no apparent reason and to be doing so irrationally, he or she may be high on marijuana.
- Increased appetite is a common effect of THC consumption, which gives rise to the term, “the munchies.” When a person smokes weed, he or she may get very hungry and take snacking to the extreme. This can lead to weight gain.
- Another factor that can cause weight gain among marijuana users is the effect that marijuana has in causing a person to lead a sedentary lifestyle. When you have gotten high on marijuana, you usually just want to sit around. Very often, you’re also going to be eating while you sit. The combined effects of this laziness and the increased food consumption can indeed make a pot smoker quite unhealthy.
- As soon as you have reason to believe that someone is using marijuana — your child, your spouse or someone else you care about — you should address the matter. Don’t bring it up in a confrontational manner or come across like you’re attacking the person — this will probably have the opposite effect to what you are hoping to achieve — but ask him or her about it while expressing your concern and care for that person’s well being.
- Educate your loved one. More likely than not, your family member or friend who is using cannabis is doing so under the assumption that it is not addictive, that it is safe and that he or she is not causing harm by doing so. Make use of information from resources such as NIDA and Narconon to ensure that your loved one knows the facts about how marijuana works and what the short- and long-term health consequences are.
- Help the person to understand the legal consequences of using marijuana. The prisons of the United States are full of people who were arrested for possession of marijuana, for cultivation or distribution. Even though they may not have been causing harm to anyone else, they have to pay thousands of dollars in fines, spend time in jail or prison and live the rest of their lives with a criminal record. The risks of marijuana use far outweigh any supposed benefits.
- Get your loved one into rehab. If he or she has already developed an addiction to the drug — and make no mistake; marijuana is addictive — it may be necessary to resort to rehab to put an end to the problem. In a program such as Narconon, the person can fully address the physical aspects of addiction, as well as resolving the issues that led him or her to using drugs in the first place, with the goal of achieving a stable and lasting recovery.
Marijuana has recently been legalized for medicinal use in nearly half of the country. Washington and Colorado have passed laws that bring the drug to a level essentially equal to alcohol, meaning that adults over 21 years of age can legally use it. The current trend is towards legalizing marijuana nationwide. Make sure that you understand the drug now before it is too late and your family member is already a regular user.